Vintage Watch Blog

Over the years we have published a number of articles to assist collectors and enthusiasts to get the best out of vintage watch ownership.

Can I wear my vintage watch every day?
Vintage Watch FAQs / Oct 25th, 2017 11:32 am     A+ | a-

We are often asked, whether a particular vintage piece is suitable for everyday wear.  The answer to that is not quite as straight forward as it may seem and it really boils down to what compromises you are prepared to make for your timepiece.

At the same time as discovering a passion for vintage watches, I was working as a sales consultant for a software firm in the water industry.  This involved a fair degree of international travel, and inevitably the need to catch flights at certain times.  Any person of average intelligence would have sensibly concluded that an accurate, robust and reliable timepiece would have been an essential accessory for such missions. Sadly, such practical considerations have often eluded me, and I would occasionally find myself either en-route to an airport or waiting in the departure lounge, staring at the face of whatever watch I was wearing, wondering why the hands weren't moving. Luckily, unless you are undertaking regular commutes to un-inhabited climes, there is usually a secondary source of timekeeping, often more accurate too.

One reasonable analogy is drawing parallels to classic car ownership.  It would take a very brave and committed individual to drive upwards of 15,000 miles per annum in a 1969 MGB Roadster.  Not only would they need the constitution of an ox to resist the assault on your senses, particularly at motorway speeds, but its likely they would be on first name terms with most of the AA patrol members in the country.  Nevertheless, there are people are out there that are prepared to make such commitments to their hobbies or interests, even claiming to be enjoying the experience.

Wearing a vintage watch everyday is somewhat less demanding but some of the same principles remain.  At a basic level, a manually wound watch needs winding every single day. Not such a big deal I hear you cry, but I can barely remember to get up every day, let alone wind my watch! If you forget to wind, you can be left wondering why it has suddenly got dark at 2pm in the afternoon.   Then there is the water resistance to worry about;  Waterproof watches are a fairly recent phenomena in the time-line of horology, and we seem to forget that complex mechanical devices don't like to be used in the rain or washing the car, or heaven forbid worn in the sea.   I can still remember the wince I gave reading an email where a customer asked me if the vintage 1960s diving watch I was selling was still capable of active service.

The biggest threat to all mechanical timepieces is shock. The watch industry collectively found a number of reasonable solutions (Incabloc, KIF etc.) but again not until the late 1930s and even then, shock protection wasn't de rigueur until much later.  Dropping a non-shock protected watch to a hard floor, will undoubtedly break a balance staff pivot rendering the watch terminally broken.

So yes, it's possible to wear your Vintage Watch everyday, but, be reasonable and be prepared to make some sacrifices for your timepiece like taking it off when fixing the car or doing the washing up.

The most sensible suggestion of course is to have an army of vintage watches to share the load and a £5 rubber Casio for those moments where you can find yourself up to your arms in paint, concrete or if you have problems with drains something much worse.

To summarise, if you really want to use a single vintage watch every day then make sure a) its shock protected b) have it serviced regularly and c) you are very careful with it.  Barring an unfortunate accident, there is nothing that should prevent the said watch outliving your own time, and pass on to the next generation.

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